50 years of puff
When the Manawatu Jazz Club Big Band takes the Globe Theatre stage on Sunday afternoon for its 50th Manawatu Jazz Festival concert, a handful of players will be celebrating their own halfcentury milestone.
Among them is trumpet player Peter Hales.
The Jazz Club marked its 50th anniversary last year and joining its Big Band in 1967 was a recent arrival from Whangarei.
Hales already had plenty of experience, following an elder brother into the Whangarei Municipal Silver Band in 1951.
A love for the big-band sound of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller meant he slotted right in and for a short time even had his own Peter Hales Quartet.
‘‘It was dance music. In those days there’d be four of us and a drum kit squeezed into a car and off playing some dance somewhere. There was just us and our instruments. The guitars had electric pick ups, but there were no amps.’’
The public servant didn’t stay in Palmerston North. His job had him popping up, and playing his trumpet, in Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth and Whanganui, so Hales doesn’t claim to have been a member of the Big Band for 50 years.
‘‘But I kept coming back and played for Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in The Square for the royal visit in 1977.’’
From 1975 to 2008, Hales was also a member of local trad jazz band The Rose City Seven.
He still puckers up to the same trumpet mouthpiece from that time, even though he has upgraded the rest of his instru- ment.
‘‘I can’t part with it – it’s my crutch. A trumpet mouthpiece is like golf clubs – special to the player,’’ he said.
A member of the Savage Club Orchestra and Big Band, Hales is now the Manawatu Jazz Club Big Band’s manager, and one of its four trumpet players.
He also plays in Theme, a duo with the Big Band’s current musical director, saxophonist Trevor Castles. The pair will be playing in Downtown’s Flavour Bistro on Saturday for the jazz festival’s free Cafe Scene.
Last Friday evening, Hales played as the Big Band warmed up the festival with Jazz on Your Feet at the Cossie Club.
On Sunday afternoon at the Globe, he’ll take his place in the MJC Big Swing Band lineup, alongside Neville Lauridsen’s Swamp City Big Band, for the festival’s traditional Big Band Blast – helping to trumpet arrangements for some of the best bigband swing music ever written.
Trumpet player Peter Hales started playing for the Manawatu Jazz Club Big band 50 years ago.